The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) is a contemporary art museum located at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Town has been named Africa’s leading art capital, beating Joburg, Lagos and Marrakesh, according to The South African Art Market: Pricing & Patterns study. 

Produced by Corrigall & Co, a South African-based art research consultancy, the report offers an analysis of the gallery landscape and the pricing trends in the country. The results are based on intensive data gathering and analysis of 52 commercial art galleries, 198 exhibitions and art fair price lists of 194 artists and interviews with industry leaders.

An estimated 50 art platforms – from galleries, fairs, events – have been established in South Africa since 2007, according to the study. Around 70% of them are commercial galleries.

The private art museums in Cape Town – such as the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art and the Norval Foundation - were found to carry more institutional weight than those in Joburg.  

Cape Town also boasts the largest art fair on the continent. Sixty galleries will participate in the Investec Cape Town Art Fair this year. There is also strong participation in the Cape Town art fair by galleries based in Europe (41% in 2020), further implying that this city is the major art hub on the continent.

Mary Corrigall, the founder of Corrigall & Co, said: “Much of the reason that the art platforms in Cape Town enjoy a higher status is that they are located in a tourist magnet. Some galleries say up to 70% of sales in this city are to foreign visitors.”

Commenting on the study, Briony Brookes, PR and Communications Manager at Cape Town Tourism said: “Cape Town is famed for its natural wonders; beaches, Winelands, and mountains. So when you consider what our art community is competing with, it's something visitors can perhaps be forgiven in overlooking. But while forgiveness is granted, excuses will not be accepted. That’s because the art scene in Cape Town can and should no longer be ignored.” 

She said art in Cape Town was alive, exciting and on par with what was on offer in major international cities around the world. 

“The Mother City offers a collaborative, nurturing environment for artists working across mediums and engaging around a vast variety of topics, themes and issues. Artists, and creatives in general, are drawn to Cape Town and we’re proud to offer them a home, a platform and a stage,” she added.